The pierced rock on the reverse is carved with a short inscription: Chenghua shinian eryue jiri, xinshi, Huang Zhuliu, Jiang Fusi, Deng Shanwu, gongshe foxiang. This may be translated as: On the tenth year of Chenghua, the second month of an auspicious day, devotees: Huang Zhuliu, Jiang Fusi and Deng Shanwu donated this Buddhist image.
It is exceptional to find a lacquered wood figure from this period with a date and preserved in such excellent condition. The present figure has retained much of its original lacquer which shows a finely detailed wave pattern that does not seem to be found on other contemporary figures. Compare a larger painted figure of seated Guanyin (115.6 cm. high) dressed in a similar style sold at Christie’s Los Angeles, 20 May 1998, lot 132, dated to Song dynasty.
The result of the C14 test from RCD Lockinge no. RCD-7098 is consistent with the dating of this lot.